A Jumbled Mind

My mind is a jumbled mess. Unfinished sentences, words I can’t quite seem to find, all floating around making a mess. I thought I had reached my lowest point in dealing with my girl child’s issues. I try and pretend everyday that I am fine. I’m sure I am selling the idea that I can handle it all. I’m not falling apart on the inside and I am certainly not falling apart on the outside. Pretty sure none of that is true. There are definitely people in my life who ignore the signs they might see as I spiral downward. It’s much easier to ignore the bad. And I get that. I really do. But please stop telling me that I just have to put “it” out of my mind. I can’t do that and I will not do that. Because that “it” is my little pink baby girl. A life that I promised to protect and love and support.

The past week has been one of my worst. Not because of any one thing that I can point to, but the culmination of the last four years. At least that is my opinion. When I am dealing with the chaos of living among my girl child’s issues, I have to stay strong. I have to be her support, still go to work, still take care of a house, I still have to make dinner every night, still babysit my grandbaby three or four nights a week, still make time for the other people I care about. I HAVE TO! If I don’t, I fail – right?

As of right now things with the girl child are what I would call stable-ish. I think this is why my body is now “releasing” the stress. She had a job for about two weeks and quit. She has lied about chlamydia boy and seeing him. He has broken up with her on three occasions creating some fairly severe breakdowns. She has had a severe bladder/kidney infection (again) which landed her in the ER for dehydration. The antibiotic made her sick, so she couldn’t/wouldn’t eat and drink. (Side note: She was at the family doc in May 2019 and weighed 131, she is currently about 115. But I am positive she is again smoking weed because I have seen a significant increase in what she is consuming throughout a day.) I finally found a place to do a psych evaluation on her. She had the first appointment the end of July. She is scheduled for a total of 7 hours of testing over a three day period. After all results are combined and reviewed, she should have a better understanding of what her mental health issues are. During the evaluation the doc mentioned she wouldn’t be surprised if my girl child has been dealing with a learning disability that school never picked up on. The girl child promises she will do what is recommend to help herself. She has made these promises before…… So yes, this is stable-ish for our family.

On the physical side, I have had some sort of weird throat thing happening for over a week. My voice sounds very hoarse, my throat doesn’t hurt. It’s weird. About two years ago I was diagnosed with fibro. I deal with it cause I have to. Some days are better than others. This week and last week have been hell. For some reason my worst areas are my elbows, shoulders and feet. Picking up a bottle of water hurts, picking up the phone at work hurts. There is also a “brain fog” that goes along with fibro. Not sure if this is the cause of my jumbled mind or it’s a combination of everything.

I also find myself eating, a lot. And this is something that makes me feel so incredibly awful. Almost eight years ago I had weight loss surgery. That’s an entirely different story. And I was successful. I have never been prouder of myself. I now find myself turning to my old friend food. Food was always there for me. Food made me feel loved. Food doesn’t judge.

The jumbled mind has just been awful. At work I don’t think anyone has really noticed. I have the occasionally stumble over finding a word or remembering a name. I think I’m handling work pretty well. Outside of work I feel like a person that might be described as “slow”. I was at Walmart to get specific items, I even had a list. I found myself just wandering aimlessly having no idea what I was getting, not remembering the list I had and just buying random shit. During conversations my mind just wonders off. My brain derails from the train of thought and I don’t get it back. It’s GONE. I was driving one of my dogs to the groomer, drove past not one, but two roads that I needed to turn on to get to the groomer.

And the worst thing lately is my lack of sleeping and the nightmares I have when I do sleep. I had what felt like and seemed like a full length movie type nightmare where I had to plan my girl child’s funeral. Start to finish. Throughout the nightmare the actual reason for her death was never actually said but the feel was it was suicide. I had to pick where to hold the funeral, what she would wear, what pictures I wanted of her displayed, how her hair should be, how her make-up should be, get her nails done the way she liked them. Details that I never want to deal with or think about again. The way I had to console other people through the funeral and was never really allowed to grieve the way I think I needed to. No one would see what I was going through. I felt so selfish the next day.

A few nights ago I had another horrible nightmare. This time I was holding my grandbaby and was putting her to sleep. She was very small and wrapped in what reminded me of a hospital blanket. Almost like she was a newborn (she is actually 10 months). I was rocking her in my arms to sleep. At some point I realize she isn’t breathing. I scream for my husband. I lay her on a table and unwrap the blanket. She isn’t breathing. Her eyes are just slits, but I can see the beautiful blue color of her pupils. I am screaming for someone to call 911, I call 911. I am on the floor sobbing and crying and asking for help. My husband is the only there and he can’t/won’t go close to her. I go to the table and start CPR. I can feel my mouth going over her nose/mouth to give her breaths. Some kind of EMS personnel are now there and telling us its too late. I won’t listen. I’m sobbing and wailing and the feeling of guilt that I killed her. She died in my arms is overwhelming me in the nightmare. I woke up with swollen eyes and a throbbing headache. I have not told anyone about these nightmares. They were too real. They feel too “close” to share. I feel like they are very selfish dreams. I don’t really know how to explain it. Why was I making a nightmare like these about me? Why am I trying to get people realize what I am feeling? UGH

A Letter to “DAD”

Dear Dad,

Just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for the birthday card. I am a bit confused about the passive aggressive note written inside, “I was there Thursday to see you.  Should have known.”  I do know you stopped by my place of employment on Thursday because, well I was there.  I actually drove a friend’s car and was basically on the look out for you.  Why?  Because last year when you showed up at work out of the blue on my birthday, it ruined my day.  I can’t say for certain, but I’m thinking it’s probably been a solid 30+ years since I’ve a) gotten a birthday card from you and b) saw you on my birthday.  I want to say I’m sorry for this, but I’m not going to.  I think I will start at the beginning and give you MY point of view.  That might clear some things up.

To say I remember a lot from my early days would be a lie.  Not sure how it is for other people but I just don’t have the memories.  I obviously know that you and mom were married, but I don’t have a clue of the actual date.  I was born 3/14/1970.  I was the second girl in the family.  The first was my sister, she was from a previous marriage of mom’s.  Technically, she is my half-sister, but we consider each other sisters.  None of that half shit applies.  At some point, if I have this right, legal paperwork had to be completed because when I was born, mom was still married to her first husband (I think).  I only found that out when I was moving out and saw a document that listed my name as Baby Girl (insert last name of mom’s first husband here).  I don’t know if that meant you had to actually adopt me to get your last name or what the deal was. Again, I can only assume it was at this time that you also adopted my older sister because we had the same last name growing up. This also meant you had to pay child support on two kids when the divorce happened. I think I was 5 when you divorced.

There are plenty of photo albums for me to look at from my birth through today. Luckily, mom took and kept pictures of everything. Honestly, you are cut out of some, but not all of them. There are also home movies with you in them, but I don’t remember those moments. I do want to share my very first memory of you. I am thinking I was like 3-4. Living in the house on Walnut. I can picture literally everything in that house. Not sure how I remember that and not other details. Anyway, it was bath time for me. You were in the bathroom with me. On the ledge around the tub was a bottle of Mr. Bubbles. Who didn’t have Mr. Bubbles growing up?! Unfortunately, my skin was sensitive to Mr. Bubbles. To be more specific my little girl private parts were very sensitive to Mr. Bubbles. I remember you putting me in the tub and I freaked out, kicking and screaming – CAUSE IT HURT. Mom hears the commotion from another room and comes into the bathroom. I’m still freaking out and accidentally hit you in the groin area. Your reaction was to then kick me in my groin area. That is my first memory of you.

Fast-forward a few years. The divorce has happened, and there is a visitation policy in place. Please remember I am telling this from MY side, as a little kid going through it. I feel like there might have been a year or so before visitation began, but I’m not sure. I remember each time you had a Saturday visit, and you actually showed up, I was always scared. Not scared of you, as much of scared and afraid of where you lived at the time and what we were going to do. We were basically strangers.  It seemed to me that you moved around quite a bit. Not that it wasn’t clean or anything like that. Just always different. I remember different woman you lived with throughout the years. I remember having to go visit your parents, my biological grandparents. They terrified me. I didn’t know these people. They weren’t part of my life, at all. I remember the bathroom in their house scared me. I really have no idea why. I hated when I had to do the visitation without my sister.  Having her with me gave me something familiar and comfortable.  

As I got older, the visits were few and far between. I remember waiting in the driveway for you to pick me up and you never showing up. NOT COOL.  I remember we always went to Pizza Hut to eat. I also remember throwing up the same night there was a visit. Mom always blamed the Pizza Hut, but it wasn’t that. I was so stressed and worked up over the visit it made me physically sick.  All the questions that were asked and knowing that there was always tension between you and mom made things so hard for me.

There came a point where I really didn’t think much about not having someone to call “dad”. I had other fabulous male role models in my life and I was very fortunate to have them.

At some point around 16-17 years of age, I had a steady boyfriend (the boy I would eventually marry and raise 3 kids with). He had a kind of normal family. Mom, dad and kids. I felt guilty for not having a relationship with you. So I started to stop by your house to see you or should I say you and your new wife and her kids. It was odd. I never felt comfortable. But I tried. I think for about a year. It just got too strange. You knew nothing about me. What’s my favorite color, my favorite food, what color was my first prom dress, my second prom dress? And what was the deal when you decided to buy me a car? I don’t remember exactly what it was, a big old 1950’s something. Was it neat – yes. Was it strange of you to do – yes. I show up to see you and you tell me you bought me this car and I had to help pay insurance, maintenance, etc. What? I am not out of school with my first job. I already have a car that I am paying for. I think that is the point I stopped visiting. You sold the car, and that was it for a very long time.

Again, fast forward to maybe 20 some years ago. I’m at work and you decide to stop in. Very awkward. You did this a few times over a few years. What I remember is you bringing me healthy snacks to try because, well because I was fat. Wait – now you’re concerned about me and my health? Then there was the time you stopped in and wanted me to sign a paper because you and your wife were adopting a baby girl. As you explained to me, as her sister I would be signing the paper to promise to be a part of her life and help her live a life through God. (I wish you could see the puzzled look on my face right now). WTF? I did not sign the paper and I’m sure I didn’t see you again until three years ago. That was the time I saw you at a local eatery, said hi to you and you didn’t know who I was. Your wife did, but never bothered to clue you in. It was my mistake for saying hi. It was my mistake for inviting you to my home the next day to meet my kids, who you never met before. I should have kept the door closed. Not long after this you stopped at work a few times when you were going to the VA Hospital. You told me you were working with someone regarding your issues. Typically, at some point during the visits you always mentioned how hard it was to see me as a kid, how hard mom made it, how you didn’t have money to fight, how you missed out on my life, and so many other things. And some how I always ended up comforting you. Telling you it was OK, telling you it wasn’t your fault.  But that’s me, I’m a caretaker at heart.

Now I will explain what I know about you and what you went through. You were in Vietnam and you were a Prisoner of War. You lived through 14 months of hell as a POW. You were released May of 1969. I was born March of 1970. When you were released you were messed up. Who wouldn’t be? You returned to a nation that didn’t treat you well. You did not get the help you needed. You turned to weed. I don’t know if there were other drugs, but I know there was weed. I know this was a bone of contention between you and mom and from what I was told, a big reason for the divorce. She needed you to stop and you couldn’t or didn’t. I just have to add, that to this day I cringe anytime I smell patchouli oil. I hate that smell with every ounce of my being. I found out years later you used that to cover the smell of the weed. You were in a very serious car. I would have been like 19 or 20. Mom took me and my sister to see you. Your injuries were very serious and you were in ICU. Your parents and mom got into a fight and we left. I think your wife called occasionally with updates on your condition and I kind of remember talking to you on the phone. At some point you move to Delaware with your wife. You still visited the area because your parents and brother still live here. Last year you and your wife moved back to the area to be closer to the VA Hospital. Which leads us back to last year and you stopping at my work on my birthday to drop off a card.

Here are my questions/comments:

Throughout my childhood, you lived maybe 10-15 miles away. Why couldn’t you show up at a game? Your parents lived about 5 miles away. Where were they when I had a track meet or a basketball game? Were you in the stands when I graduated? It was open to the public. Why did you not reach out to me and tell me that because you are a veteran I could have gone to college for a very reduced fee? Did you know I wanted to be a teacher? When my favorite person in the world passed away, Nana, did you bother to reach out to me? I have gone through some hellish life experiences. All of which you knew about. Some were very public and were HORRID. Did I miss the call or card from you then? Did you forget where I work (which I have worked at the same place for 30 years)? When you saw in the local news that one of my children was diagnosed with a chronic illness, did you reach out and see how we were doing?

I get the situation wasn’t ideal, I get you have/had issues I know nothing about. But those issues aren’t mine to carry. I have dealt with questioning why you wouldn’t want to be part of my life. What did I do to make you not want to be part of my life. I realize that it’s not me, it’s you. I was a kid, you were the adult. I am no longer holding onto the guilt or responsibility.

Please know I was taken care of, I was loved and I still am. I am proud of the person I am and it is because of the people who were and still are in my life.

Another Journey Begins…

February 26, 2019, a day I will forever remember. It started as any other day. Mid-morning while at work I received an e-mail from my husband telling me to call my daughter ASAP.  Thanks to AT&T, I have no cell phone service in my building.  I called her and found her to be in hysterics. The mental breakdown that I was always hoping would never happen, happened. She was crying, talking, yelling. It was horrible. She told me she didn’t want to do life anymore. She was over everything. She knew she wasn’t doing her best work at school, she had no creativity, had lost her passion and the boyfriend was also mentioned. 

We agreed she would drive home from her school apartment and we would deal with whatever was happening when she got home. I’m sure someone will give me grief for letting her drive. However, I do know my child and knew her waiting for me to get to her (about a 1 1/2 hours drive) would have been far worse than her driving to me. Trust me on this one.

I left work, got home and started making calls. About one month prior I had started researching inpatient facilities for depression and anxiety. I knew with what we had experienced over Christmas, my daughter needed more than just a monthly therapy appointment. I contacted an organization that was helping me with this search and since this was a situation that demanded immediate action, I was directed to a local behavioral health center. I called and made an appointment for my daughter to be seen when she got home. My husband got home before my daughter and when she walked in the door, we basically walked right back out and into the car. My girl had voiced the fact she knew she needed help.

Once at the facility, we were taken in to an in-take room. My daughter’s vitals were taken and some general questions were asked. This entire time my girl was sobbing. It was then time to sit down with an in-take specialist. Only two people were allowed. Of course my girl chose me and poor dad had to wait in the waiting area. There was about an hour of questions, which she answered very honestly. This was the first time she really told the truth about her self-harming to anyone in the therapy field. It was like a stab to my heart when she told him she now used scissors to make the cuts. There was a time when it was razor blades. He asked to see her arm and this was the first time I saw the “new” cuts. I’m not sure how I didn’t throw up. Yes, I have seen far worse self-harm pictures on-line. But seeing it on my girl was beyond words. There was one that was about four inches long and about .5 inches deep.  She was also very open and honest with her thoughts of “not wanting to be here”.  She no longer wanted to be alive as the person she currently was.  She wants to live as the person she hopes to be.

After all the questions were answered, the in-take specialist took the answers to the psychiatrist to see what is recommended.  I knew what the answer was going to be, but I don’t think my girl did.  He came back in the room with papers to sign.  The first being a 201 commitment paper.  He was very clear with what it was and what she was signing.  Since she was 18, she is now in control.  She willingly signed the paper.  As the in-take specialist was explaining more about other papers that needed to be signed, the realization that she would not be coming home with me hit her hard.  We talked for probably 30 minutes about why this needed to happen and that at this point it was going to happen.  She was begging me to get her out and not make her stay.  At one point I asked if I could go get my husband.  I left the room and went into the waiting area with the in-take guy.  I knew when I walked out I would not be going back in.  We talked about what to do at this point and I told the guy there was no way I could go back in or it would just get worse.  We then left.  We left our girl at that place.  She was alone, scared, confused, hurt and now I left her.  The first phone call came about 35 minutes later.  She couldn’t understand why we would just leave, how could we do that, she can’t stay there, she needs to get out, I need to get her out.  I think she ended up hanging up on me.  That was the first of six calls that night.  Each one was the same.  The guilt was insane at this point.  Wow.  Not knowing what she was doing was the absolute worst for me, and the fact I was sure she would hate me and never talk to me again.   

To make that evening even better, I got a Facebook message from “the boy” telling me he has been trying to call Hannah and can’t get her and she told him she was coming home to get help.  After about an hour I replied “she is safe”.  Then I got another message asking  me to give him the facility information so he can arrange to visit her.  My response “no visitors”.  His response “is that the facility rule or your rule”.  Seriously, dickhead?  You are going to throw attitude to me?  What the fuck?  I replied “facility”.  The next day the boy messaged asking for a number to call her.  I never responded to that one.  I can only assume that I hurt his feelings because I later received this message “I really appreciate your consideration you aren’t the only person who has an emotional attachment to her and is pained by what she is going through but I know my place now don’t worry sorry to bother”  and yes it was just like that, no punctuation.  Did I want to respond?  Oh, I wanted to respond.  I wanted to ask the concerned boy about the violent fights my daughters neighbors reported to the rental agency.  I wanted an explanation for the odd bruises on her body.  I wanted to know how many other diseases he was sharing with my daughter.  I wanted to know why if he was so concerned did he not tell me about the cuts on her?  I wanted to know why my girl suddenly was 30 pounds lighter if he was so fucking concerned about her.  I wanted to tell him to get the fuck out of her life.  However, I knew that would only make matters worse.  So I said nothing.

On day 2 of my daughter’s commitment she called me every few hours.  The morning calls were much of the same.  She wanted to leave, didn’t want to be there, etc. By the afternoon she had perhaps adjusted to being there and asked if we were going to visit her.  Visiting is allowed every day from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM.  Yes, I lied to the boy.  I told her I would love to visit her.  My husband (her dad!), her youngest brother, his fiance and me all went for a visit.  It was awkward at first.  We talked about her day, what the schedule was like, what the food was like, etc.  She did admit that she did like the group therapy and realized there were other people who had feelings like hers and there were people that were much worse. At the end of the visit she asked that we not visit her the following day.  She said it was too hard to imagine what we were doing when we left without her.  We followed her wishes and did not visit on day 3.  However, we talked quite a bit on the phone throughout the day.  I also talked to the social worker assigned to her.  It was helpful to be able to give the social worker some input from my point of view. She felt very confident that my girl would be released on day 4 and set up a family meeting for 1:30 PM on day 4.

As my husband and I were pulling into the facility parking lot for the meeting, my phone starts exploding.  The boy has now messaged my two sons (her brothers) and their respective girlfriend/fiance.  The message was something about how concerned he was and he isn’t getting any help or response from “her mother”.  The girls were the ones texting me at this point and I told them both to ignore him and that anything they said would be twisted and he would just throw it in Hannah’s face the minute she had her cell phone in her hand.  

We had the  meeting and were thrilled with what the social worker told us.  The behavioral group felt Hannah would be much better suited for intensive out-patient therapy and that was set up for her.  And out the door we went (yes there was other stuff regarding medication, etc).  The minute we got in the car she wanted her phone.  Before I handed it to her I showed her the exchange between me and the boy, just so she knew exactly what I said.  She calls him from the back seat, my blood is boiling.  Of course we can only hear her side of the conversation.  I’m not sure how many times she apologized to him.  Again, I am seeing red.  She eventually hangs up and my only comment (right or wrong) was “you just got out of in-patient treatment and he is making you feel guilty and you have to apologize to him?”  And that is all I said.  Now, unbeknownst to me throughout the afternoon the boy and the brothers are messaging and it got UGLY.  Very ugly.  The boy threatened to kill my oldest and make sure his daughter grows up without a dad, just like him.  This is the caliber of person we are dealing with.  OMG – that night was just horrid.  Even though she knew what was said in the messages, she still begged the boy to stay with her.  All the alarms are going off in my head and the last thing I can do is scream at her that he is manipulating her, using her and abusing her.  At this time I was also very disappointed in my sons.  I know they love their sister.  I know they were doing what they felt was best for her and protecting her and I appreciate that.  I did not appreciate them then turning their backs on her because they felt she was choosing the boy over them.  She is messed up in the head, just got out of the psych ward and is so confused about life she can’t see straight.  She needed their support.  Stop and think about it before you judge…………

It’s now been almost two weeks since she was in the hospital.  We are learing to live with a new normal.  She has been given a leave of absence from school.  She will have five months to complete her final portfolio and have it judged.  That is a huge stressor to cross off the list.  Today, she returned the boys property (the usual t-shirts, sweatshirts).  I can’t say they are officially over, but we are moving in the correct direction.  I will occasionally send my girl links regarding domestic abuse, how it starts, what it looks like and I think she is finally admitting to herself that she was in a bad relationship. This boy treated her how she feels she should have been treated.  She isn’t worthy of a nice guy because she is a piece of shit – her words, not mine.  Therapy starts in two weeks (yes, the mental health system is amazingly fast), but in the meantime she is speaking with a life coach twice a week.  I never thought much of the life coach crap – my opinion has now changed.  My girl is learning to deal with and control her anxiety.  She is relating to her life coach and enjoys every session.  I think my girl reached her rock bottom.  Now we do all we can to build her back up, support and love her the way she deserves.

Do I tell her….

I would like to apologize for the post yesterday. I should really wait a few days before throwing shit out there. But what fun would that be? And how cathartic would that be for me?

There are days I struggle with the overwhelming guilt of all the mistakes I made with my baby girl. Guilt that makes me want to stay in bed with the covers over my head. Guilt that makes my body physically ache. Guilt that gives me the overwhelming desire to sob for days.

Then there are the days that I struggle with anger. No, I struggle with RAGE, HATRED, FURY, RESENTMENT. And I HATE it. Some days it is towards all the bullshit we go through trying to get quality mental health support. Some days it’s resentment towards all the “perfect” social media family’s. I know it’s all for show, I know it’s not all rosy and perfect, but I’m fucking sick and tired of seeing it. What’s really going on in your house? And I don’t mean to sound like I want bad things to happen to people, but COME ON! Just once post about how shitty you day really was. Your boss is a dick, your fighting with your significant other over skid marks in the toilet, your kids teacher emailed about missing homework, you had to stop and get gas in the pouring rain, and you walk in the house to find the dog shit on the floor and no one cleaned it up. THAT’S REAL! Just once I wish I had the balls to post what I was really thinking on my social media or what actually happens in my world. Hell, I wish I had the balls to make this blog public to my social media.

Then there are the days that I want to scream and yell at my girl. This is the feeling I hate the most. As an adult, I know this is not her fault. I know there are thoughts and feelings she has a hard time dealing with. I knew when I decided to have kids it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. I didn’t think there would be days I would feel this way about my child. Do I tell her all these things? Do I make her feel worse? Do I make her feel guilty for being mentally ill? No, I can’t and I won’t. But this is my reality. There are days that I really want her to see that her disease isn’t only wreaking havoc in her life.

Do I tell her….(and there is no order to these, just as they pop in my demented brain)

I can’t do it anymore
I want to give up
I can’t keep stopping my life
I want to have fun again, but I feel like I can’t. How can I laugh with friends knowing you have suicidal thoughts?
I’m tired of canceling plans to babysit you. Take care of yourself for a change.
Stop making such stupid ass choices.
Next time you cut yourself, you might as well cut me. I feel it.
Do not make me find your body.
I want to have sex with my favorite person. We are both so exhausted with worry and fear. It’s not an excuse, it’s our reality.
I cancelled an anniversary/birthday party for me and your dad because I don’t know if you will be here for it. How do I plan a party when I might have to plan your funeral?
GET OUT OF YOUR FUCKING BED AND LIVE
I need my baby girl back, I want my baby girl back
I need to feel “normal” again
I need to see you smile
I need to see you love
I need to see you live